Ever wonder why the political classes are so eager to provide AIG with its ever expanding bailout? Perhaps the fact that the insurance company was a huge donor to both political conventions this summer helped.
AIG donated $1.5 million to the conventions—which are exempt from campaign finance limits—according to AIG. In our age of billion dollar losses and bailouts, that might seem a paltry sum. But in politics, a couple of million goes a long way. The entire Democratic convention, for instance, cost just $61 million. To put it differently, the combined donations of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Lehman Brothers, amounted to only $1.5 million. The commercial banking sector—including Citigroup and Bank of America—donated just $3 million.
The automakers may regret not forking over more dought. Ford donated just $100,000 to each convention. GM apparently couldn’t come up with anything at all, and so it bartered: letting the convention VIPS use 735 new cars. Chrysler apparently didn’t donate anything at all.
It’s almost embarrassing how cheaply our politicians can be bought.